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Jon "jonr1234" (Kent UK)

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Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock (PS3)
Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock (PS3)

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Even more wobbly than the original series' sets!, 14 Jun. 2012
I am a huge fan of Doctor Who, both new and old. Let's just get that out of the way first shall we? But even as a fan, I cannot recommend this game.

Doctor Who: The Eternity Clock is not a fun game. In fact I would describe this game as being a chore to play. The only motivation I had to continue playing was the naive hope that reaching the end goal would somehow yield a reward far greater than the experience I was having at the time. It never did.

The presentation is quite frankly bizarre. Eternity Clock presents you with a three-dimensional world but only allows the Doctor and River Song to move on a two-dimensional plane... meaning that you can never explore the world beyond the confines of your current, very linear path. This goes against everything Doctor Who is about. It also makes no sense in the context of the game when the Doctor must climb ladders and pipes to overcome obstacles when a perfectly serviceable set of stairs lies in the background, just beyond the player's reach. Infuriating!

The gameplay is frantic and often involves a lot of running, a Doctor Who staple. The Doctor can wave his Sonic Screwdriver around with reckless abandon and receive messages on his psychic paper. River Song has her trusty blaster and hallucinogenic lipstick, the latter is used to seduce guards into opening electronic doors for the most part. It's just a shame that no one told the developers that 2D aiming controls don't work in what is essentially a 3D space. Between the running and sonicing/shooting, there are puzzles but only a few, mind you. You will find yourself playing the same few minigames over and over again just to progress and frankly it becomes more than a little tedious.

Eternity Clock features several of the Doctor's most infamous adversaries, Cybermen, Silurians (sorry, Homo Reptilia), The Silence and the Daleks. Each of the various factions look great on screen and generally have a different gameplay quirk which makes fighting them (only slightly) different. The Silence, for example, need to be kept in view at all times or else the level will fail; something fans of the new series might appreciate. There are plenty of references to previous episodes, both new and old, along with some rather redundant collectables to seek out as well. Matt Smith and Alex Kingston lend their vocal talents to their respective characters and although Smith provides the usual energetic flair we have come to love of the Doctor, Kingston feels a little flat as River Song.

The story is typical Doctor Who fare, a massive universe threatening problem occurs seemingly out of nowhere and the Doctor must save the world quickly enough to be back in time for tea. There's plenty of time travelling cleverness utilised in order to solve puzzles although these are questionable at best. My favourite involves the Doctor going back in time to change the plans for a gas main so it will be built under a different road and prevent an explosion which had previously hindered the player's progress. Of course it doesn't matter that the Doctor only had to step around the damage and... oh wait, we can only move in two dimensions. Ironic really, the Doctor can travel through the forth dimension but not the third. Additionally, don't expect a fantastic finale wherein the Doctor thwarts the true enemy and saves the day either, because just when it's getting good the game just sort of ends instead.

However, despite its multiple failings, my biggest problem with the game is its difficulty. Now, I consider myself a seasoned gamer, I don't shy away from a challenge, but this game is just not easy, even on the easy setting! The AI is glitchy and doesn't do things half as quickly as you need it to, the game doesn't always adhere to its own internal rules (am I in cover or not?) and most of the so called challenging levels are frustrating because of an arbitrary time limit. If you are looking to play this game along with your children, prepare for many tears of frustration and then expect them from your kids as well.

I gave Eternity Clock two stars for having average visual quality, average voice acting and some nifty little throwbacks to the TV series. This is not a game you will play again after purchase. I shall be hiding this game from my nephew who is a huge video game and Doctor Who fan because I can't bear to see the disappointment on his face when he experiences this unfulfilling, frustrating and deviously heartbreaking game.

Housepets! Are Naked All The Time: Volume 1
Housepets! Are Naked All The Time: Volume 1
by Rick Griffin
Edition: Paperback
Price: £8.29

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Housepets! Are awesome all the time., 21 Feb. 2012
I discovered the Housepets! comics only recently but regardless of my brief introduction I fell in love with them instantly.

Housepets! mainly follows Peanut Butter (Dog) and Grape Jelly (Cat), a pair anthropormorphic domesticated pets, as they live out their lives in the world of humans surrounded by a plethora of colourful supporting characters. Anyone with an affinity for animals will find plenty to love here and will no doubt see similarities with their own pets (or maybe not!) The characters are endlessly amusing, the story arcs are interesting and well paced and the overall presentation is just briming with a delightful charm that will stay with you until long after the end.

The book itself is beautifully presented and the images are clear and sharp. The printed page certainly does Housepets! more justice than the digital screen and it's easier on the eyes as well!

Are you curious to know what would happen if your pets walked on two legs and could talk? Perhaps you would like to hear the tales of Spot (Superdog) as he battles his nefarious, dress wearing foes? Or maybe you simply wish to know if Grape ever does get to finish that nap for once? Whatever your reason, you need to buy Housepets!

NINTENDO Solatorobo: Red the Hunter [DS]
NINTENDO Solatorobo: Red the Hunter [DS]

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Anthropomorphic animals, combat mechs and floating islands... what's not to like?, 27 Aug. 2011
Solatorobo: Red the Hunter is set in the Shepherd Republic, a collection of floating islands inhabited by anthropomorphic dogs and cats. The game follows the exploits of Red Savarin who is known as a Hunter, a sort of mercenary type. Solatorobo is billed as being the spiritual successor to game dev CyberConnect2's Playstation One title, Tail Concerto. Indeed, anyone who has played Tail Concerto will find a lot of Solatorobo's content to be familiar and will probably already know if this game is for them or not.

I'm going to say it now to avoid repeating myself: Solatorobo is not a difficult game. Most of the game mechanics are quite basic and once you understand how they work you probably won't have much trouble mastering anything the game throws at you. Your home base is Red's airship Asmodeus and from there you can move freely between the various islands by way of a map. The map shows which islands offer quests and which location will advance the story. Quests can be picked up from the Quest Broker on the appropriate island and they provide players with short activities which can range from fighting mini-boss type enemies to simple fetch quests.

In the game world Red rides around on his custom robot Dahak which is also used for fighting. Red can dismount Dahak at any time and explore on foot but he is equipped only with a stun gun and cannot fight. Dahak can grab things, pick them up and throw them. This is the only battle mechanic available and the reason why Solatorobo seems so shallow on the surface. However as you progress, fiercer opponents will start to appear and although they provide little in the way of additional challenge, the differing tactics required to beat them helps to break up the combat. Upgrades for Dahak can be bought from the various vendors and used to increase any of four different stats which can make fights easier depending on which stats you choose.

Not only can Dahak fight, it can fly too. Flying comes in two flavours: the Robo GP and free flight. The Robo GP is basically a series of flying races around a linear track. Sadly, due to some awkward controls, this is by far the weakest element of the game. Luckily it is not a requirement to actually win these races. Free flight, however, is possibly one of the strongest elements of the game. During several quests, Red is transported to a fully navigable three dimensional area and given a specific task which involves flying freely between a series of much smaller islands. Dahak is much easier to control here and the sense of freedom is a welcome change.

Solatorobo goes for the quantity over quality approach by giving you many things to do but not expanding too much on any one area. Besides the quests and main story, players can collect pieces of photographs that have been scattered about the world by troublesome kittens, collect musical notes in order to buy music tracks later on and take part in robot arena battles. Some quests can be replayed in order to gain higher scores and sometimes earn further rewards. From Asmodeus you can gain access to the collectables you have earned, such as completed photographs, cutscenes and music.

The story is where this game shines brightest; not necessarily the plot itself but the characters and the world they inhabit. Red interacts with a whole host of interesting and unique characters on his travels and on more than a few occasions these often bizarre exchanges have caused me to laugh out loud. Red's relationship with his sister Chocolat is especially amusing and can lead to some rather humorous dialogue. Anyone who has played Tail Concerto might be thrilled to notice a few cameo appearances from some familiar faces.

Meanwhile, the main plot meanders along comfortably, seemingly unaware that the player is already about two steps ahead. The plot twists aren't huge and you'll probably already have an idea of what's going on before each reveal. However, despite the rather unassuming plot, I didn't find it affected my overall enjoyment of the game and I was perfectly content to watch how the characters dealt with their unfolding situation. Further descriptions of the world, its inhabitants and their cultures can be unlocked during play and viewed from Asmodeus.

Curiously the story (and therefore the game itself) is split in two. When the first half ends, players could be forgiven for believing that the game has ended altogether; there are credits and everything. By starting a new game, players can access the second half of the story which, although following on from some revelations in the first half, could still be considered a self contained story in its own right. Oddly enough, I found the second half to be more compelling than the first and it is also the point where a load of new and interesting gameplay features are introduced. As Yahtzee himself once said, "I don't normally accept 'It gets better later' as an excuse, but it really does get better later."

Graphics/Art Direction
Depending on how you look at it, Solatorobo is beautiful. Red inhabits a vast array of interesting environments which are a curious mixture of three dimensional areas with two dimensional elements. Each island has its own unique feel and there is a wealth of detail, with something to see in every background.

Static portraits of each character will appear on screen when they are speaking and the various reactions and facial expressions, especially from Red, are often a joy to behold. Occasionally the game will play an animated cutscene in order to progress the story, these little segues also encompass both 2D and 3D elements and are beautifully presented. It's just a shame there are not more of them.

The resolution is low and it's sometimes best not to look too closely for fear of putting your eye out on the sometimes pixelated edges. But ultimately it was Solatorobo's charming style that held my attention, presenting an appealing game world which I was always eager to see more of.

The official language of the Shepherd Republic is French, but don't worry, all the text is in English! There is no real voice acting to speak of within the game but short audio clips are often played during specific events. For example when you initiate conversation with the Quest Broker, she will say Bonjoir in a cheerful manner. Each character has at least one audio cue and although I don't speak French, it's enough to get a handle on their general character or disposition.

The sound effects are serviceable and about what you'd expect from a DS game. They neither irritate nor seem out of place so I can't complain on that front. The music is typical RPG fare, a short theme for each location set to loop continuously. I found the music quite enjoyable and very fitting for the specific locations they were used in. Many of the themes remained in my head long after playing and I found myself humming them out loud on more than one occasion. Luckily for me they can all be listened to from Asmodeus.

If you approach this game looking for a worthy challenge or something cerebral to tax your brain, you may be disappointed. However if you enjoy anthropomorphic animals, fighting with robots or Japanese RPGs in general, then no doubt you'll find something to like here. Solatorobo is a gentle game that moves slowly but surely and rewards dedicated players with simple yet enjoyable activities, vibrant characters and even more colourful backdrops. This game is a one of a kind and is not to be missed, buy it now.

Mongrels - Series 1 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Mongrels - Series 1 [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Dvd ~ Adam Miller
Price: £9.13

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mongrels - An intelligent, insulting and outright hilarious comedy, 4 Aug. 2010
I discovered Mongrels completely by accident and am I ever glad I did! Never before has a cast of puppets made me laugh so hard. Metrosexual Fox Nelson, It-Bitch Destiny, obscurely accented stray cat Marion, vengeful pigeon Kali and foul mouthed fox Vince star in this adult, cross species, puppet comedy about life in the backyard of an East London pub (and beyond).

The jokes border on the controversial, there is a smattering of swearing and sex and plenty will find offence in certain jokes. BUT it is done with such charm and the characters are brought to life with so much care and attention that really none of it matters. There are cameos from some surprisingly up-for-it BBC "celebrities" including Eamon Holmes, Clive Anderson, Scott Mills etc, as well as a song sung by one of the furry cast members in each episode, see especially "Everybody loves a lesbian", "Breaking up is such a faff" and "Middle-Class is magical."

But ultimately this is a comedy which sets out to make you laugh, not to offend. There is a real intelligence to the humour, unlike most of the dross usually found on this show's home channel. Mongrels is something worthy of your attention and you'll find someone to relate to, whether it be the awfully middle-class Nelson, the murderous Kali or the highly strung Destiny. These are episodes that you can watch time and time again and will have you laughing (and singing) for days after.

Buy it, now!

Dreamfall: The Longest Journey ( XPLOSIV PC DVD ROM)
Dreamfall: The Longest Journey ( XPLOSIV PC DVD ROM)
Offered by That's Entertainment - CDs & DVDs
Price: £16.99

4.0 out of 5 stars A great start... but where's the rest of it?, 21 Mar. 2010
I have just this minute finished playing this game and felt compelled to write a review, which means it was either incredibly bad or outstandingly great. Luckily it was leaning more towards the latter.

You play (mostly) as Zoe Castillo, an ordinary girl living in the world of Stark until her best friend and previous lover goes mysteriously missing and a small girl starts talking to her through screens, telling her to "Find April Ryan. Save April Ryan." Zoe is pulled into a dangerous conspiracy and occasionaly finds herself in the mysterious world of Arcadia. There are two other characters which drive the plot through Arcadia (April Ryan and Aposle Kian) but it's easily Zoe's story in both worlds that prevails.

The gameplay is usually quite simple and involves moving around generously sized hub areas, interacting with characters and objects in the world to solve puzzles or obtain information to progress. Simply being in any of these areas is a joy and the relitively simple errands don't spoil this. Conversations usually involve chosing certain topics which can effect the outcome of the conversation.

The story is complex and there are more characters than you can shake a handful of sticks at, each as intetresting and as engaging as the last. Who couldn't love the rougish Crow? The voice acting is patchy, sometimes amazing and other times feeling like the actor is simply reading a shopping list out, especially in one key scene near the end which required the most emotion. Character animation is pretty good and I have certainly seen current gen games with worse lip syncing than this. Every part of the game is a delight to look at with some truly inspired level and character designs. The music is beautiful and fits the game really well.

However Dreamfall has its flaws, flaws that would break most other games, but despite these little hiccups this game doesn't seem to suffer so much for them.

The gameplay sections can be quite short and the conversation/cutscene parts quite lengthy. However none of the cutscenes or conversations outstay their welcome, with most characters having something interesting to say. I personally found myself wanting to hear more but some players may not like the top heavy exposition/gameplay structure.

Combat is terrible! There are only about 4 or 5 occasions when combat is needed and this is usually only against 2 people. But there is no combat tutorial, the player being thrown in to simply guess the buttons needed. Controls aside, the combat is awkward and feels a little wooden, with the other opponant waiting patiently for their turn to attack it all feels a little... scripted.

The storyline and the world Dreamfall is set in is top notch and incredibly detailed. However it doesn't seem to come to any sort of end. Plot lines are not resolved by the end of the game and a lot of details and characters are abandoned for the sake of finishing Zoe's overall quest, which also has some major loose ends! It is hinted at the end that there is more of the story to tell, possibly in a future game, but there are so many unanswered questions by this point that I was feeling a little betrayed all the same.

Overall this game is definately worth buying. I enjoyed being in the worlds of Stark and Arcadia. April, Kian and Zoe's stories and journeys are all interesting and keep the flow of the story going by alternating between them. The gameplay can be lacking, particularly towards the end but there was enough for me to do without my attention waning. An excellent story that I hope will be followed up by the soon to be upcoming (hopefully) Dreamfall Chapters.

Moon [DVD] [2009]
Moon [DVD] [2009]
Dvd ~ Sam Rockwell
Price: £3.18

12 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected, 7 Mar. 2010
This review is from: Moon [DVD] [2009] (DVD)
Like everyone else here, I had heard all the hype surrounding this film ages before I managed to buy the dvd. It intrigued me as I am a fan of serious and thought provoking Sci-Fi that does not include horrendously mutated alien monsters.

Alas when I finally bought the dvd, slipped it into the player and sat back... I was less than impressed. Sure it held my attention, the acting was great and the setting and props gave you a sense that it could be happening not many years from now. But the story was a real let down.

The main twist came about halfway through the film and let me tell you, that's NOt where you want to put your twist. I guess there was other stuff you find out afterwards but come on, once you know why Sam is seeing another version of himself, every other point made is moot.

I waited and watched, hoping for an amazing twist at the end that would make the whole ride worth making, but it did not come. Instead everything that you had seen, everything that you thought was just a bit too daft to actually be happening... well let's just say it was a dissapointment.

I'm sorry to all the people who love this film, I truly appreciate clever and intelligent films and I'm sure for the most part this was one of them, however it just fell at the final hurdle in my mind.
Comment Comments (4) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 2, 2011 2:28 PM GMT

James Cameron's Avatar: The Game (Xbox 360)
James Cameron's Avatar: The Game (Xbox 360)
Price: £18.98

29 of 29 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Avatar: The Game - Pandora: The World, 7 Feb. 2010
There are many reviews available for this game and many different opinions. I believe there are two different people who will play this game. 1) Fans of the Avatar movie. 2) Those simply looking for a good game. If you are looking for a good game, you might not necessarily find it here. However if you are completely besotted by the world of Pandora and want more, this is the game for you. Avatar: The Videogame, is set two years before the events of the movie and tells a completely unique story. You have the chance to play as human, human in an avatar body and Na'vi.

The storyline is completely separate from the movie so don't expect to see Jake or Neytiri in this game. However minor cameo appearances are made by Dr Grace Augustine, Colonel Miles Quaritch and Trudy Chacon, all voiced by their movie counterparts.
The player character, "Able" Ryder, is a Signals Specialist (SigSpec) sent to Pandora as part of the Avatar program. The first hour of the game will see you complete various small tasks for the RDA while learning several key elements such as combat or vehicle driving. You also get to try out your avatar body as well, to get a feel for your new blue skin. Eventually, after a series of events, you will be presented with a dilemma and you must chose to side with either the gun toting humans or the arrow shooting Na'vi.
Either way, the story concerns Able Ryder (Who can have any one of twelve diferent male or female appearances on starting the game) collecting shards of unobtanium and using them to tune several musical willow trees in order to find the ancient well of souls, a dormant site with great power. Obviously the Na'vi want you to protect it and the RDA campaign would have you control it. The storyline isn't the game's winning feature and sadly it all feels as if the developers simply threw it in last minute as something for you to do whilst on Pandora. Some elements of the story don't feel consistent with the established Avatar universe but can mostly be overlooked.

Gameplay divides when you choose your side. The Na'vi are mostly staff and knife melee based while the RDA humans use nothing but guns. I personally feel that the Na'vi campaign is more fun to play. Running up to a tiny human and chopping him up or stalking from a distance to put an arrow in his head is great fun. However the RDA campaign lacks this balance, there are a variety of guns, but all mostly useless when the Na'vi are standing on top of you as humans have no melee option. The Na'vi are definitely harder to kill as a human. As Na'vi, the world of Pandora is mostly forgiving and the creatures tend to leave you alone, but there are humans swarming everywhere. However as a human, the moon's hostility is evident. Plants attack with acid sap, viperwolves constantly hunt you and the odd Thanator may jump out and try to devour you whole.
There is a wide variety of vehicles that can be driven/riden, although the humans have more available. Na'vi can ride Ikran (Banshees) and the Direhorse, as well as the Toruk (Great Leonopteryx) which seems to completely ignore the established movie canon. The human vehicles are plentiful and quite easy to drive. There's anything from the AMP suit right up to the massive Dragon gunship. There's nothing quite like flying amidst the Halleluiah Mountains in a Scorpion or atop your own Ikran.
Most of the missions however will have you running about the generous sized maps in search of an objective before running all the way back to the person who made you do it. There is a lot of travelling and not a lot of variation. It consists mostly of go there, shoot them and come back. Now and then a vehicle section or boss battle may break up the monotony but these are scattered and too few. There is an option to teleport to previous destinations but they aren't always very well placed. The RDA campaign seems more structured and driven while the Na'vi campaign can leave you wondering just what you are supposed to be doing.
There is also an XP system with a metre that fills with the more you kill. The more XP you get, the more "skills" you acquire. Skills give you a variety of powers for a short period of time, including increased damage, air strikes, invisibility or even calling a friendly Nantang (Viperwolf) to fight for you. These skills can help to spice the combat up and can save your life in some instances.
There is a pretty cool feature called the Pandorapedia, which has articles on every single element of the Avatar universe. The player can add these elements by "scanning" each item as they find it, including characters. The information will be displayed in the Pandorapedia by viewing the pause menu. This isn't a very well documented feature and I managed to completely miss it until halfway through my second play through!

Each level is huge and there is a wealth of detail. The graphics won't win any awards but the world of Pandora looks stunning despite this. Every plant, animal and bizarre rock formation from the movie is in there and it is evident that James Cameron had a hand in the design procedure. Everything is crafted beautifully and looks just like it did in the film. The humans aren't looking too good and the likenesses of movie characters are doubtful but the scenery more than makes up for it. The creatures are fantastic, especially the Palulukan (Thanator) and are truly terrible when you have to take them down. And yes, the red spiral plant that Jake touches in the movie, is in the game too. It's just as much fun to touch it and watch it shoot into the ground!
You'll get the opportunity to explore areas from the movie too, including Hells Gate, Iknimaya and Hometree. Hells Gate looks good and within you'll see the avatar link chambers, command room (Where Selfridge was in the movie, not in the game though) and the AMP suit bay (Where Jake met Colonel Quaritch in the movie). They are mostly useless and provide nothing more than fan service, but each one is meticulously crafted and a joy to view.

The game soundtrack isn't bad but it's no James Horner. I bought the official soundtrack and ripped it to my Xbox 360 HDD and played that while I played the game. The 360 replaces the game music with the playing music so you still hear sound effects and voices as normal, it improved the experience no end and really helped to make me feel like I was in Pandora once more. Try playing "Jake's first flight" when you first ride an Ikran, or play "Climbing Iknimaya - The stairway to Heaven" when starting the Iknimaya level. You won't regret it!

Overall this game does nothing inherently wrong, but neither does it blind anyone with its innovation or originality. It's a good solid third person action/adventure game and fun to play for maybe a couple of hours. There is some replay value however as you will want to complete both campaigns, despite not necessarily wanting to kill the beautiful Na'vi (I sure didn't!) However if you have seen the movie more than three times and can't get enough of Pandora, this game is a perfect substitute for those times when you need to feed your addiction and can't get to the big screen.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Feb 22, 2011 12:37 PM GMT

Price: £7.04

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It's Avatar and nothing less., 24 Jan. 2010
This review is from: Avatar (Audio CD)
I hate to do it, but almost every review here has, in one way or another, referenced the previous James Cameron/James Horner movie, Titanic. Now I was never a fan of the Titanic film despite being interested in the source material. Neither do I doubt that Horner's music suited it brilliantly, but it wasn't a score I would spend time listening to outside of watching the movie.

However, Horner's score for the beautiful world of Pandora is a real treat. After seeing the Avatar movie a couple of days ago, I have longed to return to that world and without a DVD release out yet, what better way than to turn to the haunting and beautiful soundtrack?

I hear hints of Horner's previous work and at time more than a nod to Titanic, but even as I listen to this music now, I'm getting the same spine-tingling feeling I had when immersed within the movie theatre. This is Avatar and nothing else, no doubt. Avatar would have been only half the movie it was without this truly inspiring work to back it up. I have never watched a movie that evoked such an emotional response and the musical score is no different.

Horner has managed to capture the beauty and danger, the gentle and the savage but most of all he has encapsulated the very heart and spirit of the world of Pandora. You can only appreciate the meaning of this statement when you have seen both the sound and pictures working together. Pandora is a spiritual, living, breathing world and this music does this a magnificant justice. I defy you to listen to "The Destruction of Hometree" to hear those death tolling horns near it's conclusion and not feel an incredible feeling of loss and sadness. "Pure spirits of the Forest", "Jake's First Flight" and "The bioluminescence of the Night" capture as much of the awe inspiring wonder and purity that the pictures can. "War" is a simply titled and rather long piece which conveys just what it's title suggests. If you've seen the film, this soundtrack will bring those images back to your mind more vividly than any 3D screen could.

Let's spend less time critisising Horner for his distinctive style and instead thank him for lending that style to help create such a magnificant movie. Let's thanks him for allowing us to take that trip back to Pandora. But most of all we should praise his work which marks him as one of the truly great composers of our time.

Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD]
Doctor Who - Complete Specials (The Next Doctor/ Planet of the Dead/ Waters of Mars & Winter Specials) [DVD]
Dvd ~ David Tennant
Offered by zindorstocks
Price: £29.99

24 of 200 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Sub-Par Doctor Who, the worst yet., 27 Dec. 2009
I'm not one to write a review of a product that has not yet been released, as this is a contradiction of the very word "RE-view". But I have seen four out of the five episodes that are to be placed within this set, and unless the final episode is mind bogglingly brilliant (which I highly doubt) then I shall not be changing my mind.

Everyone raves about Tennant, but frankly his time has come (Pardon the pun) his only good series was his first and frankly the 2nd New series of Doctor Who was the best out of any of the new ones. Since series 2 it's all gone downhill.

The stories have no structure to them, they have a beginning, some sort of jumbled middle and then an ending based entirely around the Doctor's ego. They set up amazing situations, characters and ideas (The Waters of Mars looked amazing) but then David Tennant appears on screen and we can forget about the amazing things we've seen because he apparently trumps all that. I know the entire program is about the Doctor and the point is that he saves the day, but it seems that all sense of logic and reason is also dissolved when he appears and the story just goes away while we focus on how brilliant the Doctor's overused sonic screwdriver is!

If it isn't DT ruining it all, it will definitely be some ridiculous set-piece made from an oversized CGI budget that just goes and makes the entire story go from "barely credulous" to "outright raving impossible" I'm looking at YOU "The Next Doctor" with your stupid oversized steam powered battle Cyberman! I am a Sci-Fi fan and I can suspend my sense of disbelief and I understand the "fiction" part of Sci-Fi, but come on guys! I understand the only people to blame are the writers, we can't lump this on DT, he's a great actor and has been a good Doctor, but seriously... his character has become too righteous and far too predictable. By the end of "The Waters of Mars" I could finally see some development, but by the beginning of "The End of Time Pt 1" He was back to being his normal boring self. (???) Trust me, you'll be plumping for The Master instead before the end of that terrible finale.

I will buy this set only because I want to continue to collect the set, plus the extras on the DVD's might be enough to alleviate the disappointment in these truly awful stories. If you want good Doctor Who, look to the Classic series, back when stories were actually good. If all else fails, you could always use this box set as a shiny new set of coasters for your coffee table.
Comment Comments (20) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jan 20, 2010 2:53 PM GMT

Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (Xbox 360)
Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince (Xbox 360)
Price: £40.00

31 of 36 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Harry's worst outing yet..., 14 July 2009
Harry Potter's world is HUGE. let me just start you off with this idea. Not quite as big nor having the depth of such literacy masterpieces as The Lord Of The Rings, but a very well rounded and thouroughly enjoyable work of art in it's own right.

This video game is none of the things above. The amount of source material the makers of this game have availiable to use is immense and yet they churn out this manufactured rubbish every year. It just has not been the same since HP:POA.

Please don't be fooled by the shiny trailer or the list of features above beacuse they are all lies. But I shall get to that.

The castle is huge, much bigger than last year's version and very well done. You can explore more or less every room and there is a wealth of detail, although it stops there. The game is very fast paced, whisking you off to each objective very quickly and the story is skimmed over in about 3 hours. The story is very thin and is dashed with a few cutscenes which look horrendous and the graphics are not much of an improvement from some PS2 titles.

Side quests involve either mixing hundreds of mundane potions or dueling random people for no real reason. This potion mixing process is fun for the first 10 or so until you realise how you have been cheated into matching colours and shapes and not much more. Dueling is fun and actually retains it's appeal throughout as you learn more interesting and fun spells. You can collect shields as you go through the game, many hidden throughout Hogwarts and some awarded for carrying out mind dumbingly repetative chores... urgh, I mean quests!

The whole game seems to skip and jump merrily through the story, missing key plot points and making stuff up as it goes. There is very little atmosphere which is the downfall and it does not feel at any point like Hogwarts may be invaded by Deatheaters at any moment. In fact when the main story is finished, a rather important character who dies, is referenced many times by wandering NPC's as if they were still alive and kicking. Truly a terrible effort.

Lets look at the official product features:

* Compete as Gryffindor for the Hogwarts Quidditch Cup: Take on Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin in the most exciting wizarding sport
- Well this is a lie, it's not exciting! The whole section is on rails and the broom flies itself and even steers for you too. All you need to do is aim slightly for stars you must fly through to gain speed. Even the catching of the snitch is automatic! There is never a cup awarded either, it's all very much just thrown in for the hell of it.

* Perfect your Quidditch skills: Can you dodge a Bludger or catch the Snitch?
- What?! There are no bludgers to dodge and the snitch is caught for you automatically!

* Take part in thrilling wizard duels. Battle against Death Eaters in Hogwarts, Inferi in the Horcrux cave and much more
- Yeah well it's mostly true, except for the "and more" part. Duels seem random and pointless.

* Join the Gryffindor Duelling Club. Perfect your duelling skills before you take on the other houses. Will you become the Duelling Club champion?
- Again it all seems rather wishy washy and just chucked in without really being properly joined to the game. Fun to play though.

* Create magical potions with Professor Slughorn - using the Half-Blood Prince's Potions book
- There are loads of potions, fun to mix the first 10 times or so but then they get boring and repetative. Also you never get to actually use any of the potions, so why bother?

* Explore Hogwarts at night: Take on night-time missions while the castle sleeps
- I don't even remember doing this, I think it's part of the story. There is no option to actively choose to stay up at night, again it's all done for you.

* Stuck? Call on Nearly Headless Nick for clues and tips to help you complete your challenges
-This feature is actually very handy. Being in such a huge castle is very daunting and a quick call of Nick and he will lead you straight to your next objective!

* Relive the action of the movie....from the Hogwarts Express to the dramatic revelation of the Half-Blood Prince
- "Relive" is the wrong word. Both of these sections mentioned are merely cutscenes. So don't go thinking you can happily explore the hogwarts express. You can't. It's the castle or nothing. Even Hogsmede is a mere 30 seconds cutscene.

* See more of the wizarding world: Explore new magical places like The Burrow, and the Horcrux cave
- AGAIN the wrong words. "Explore" is not the right word! You cannot wander around the burrow, you are merely plonked there, given a few cutscenes, play a pointless flying game and then leave! The Horcrux cave is also just a single room with only one simple task, to cast one spell endlessly at the inferi until they stop approaching. That is NOT exploration. You can't even move around these areas!

* Uncover the truth: Travel with Dumbledore to piece together Voldemort's past, and sneak around Hogwarts to discover Malfoy's secrets
- Again these are not possible, it's all in the hands of the game and it's frequent and pointless cutscenes.

So in short the whole game is a rushed and hashed up pointless mess of nothingness! There is very little story, even less player control, and little if NO atmosphere and depth. If you are a Harry Potter fan you probably will play this and find some enjoyment. But if you are looking for the difinitive Harry Potter gaming experience, look no further than HP: Chamber of Secrets for the PS1. The mere fact that I am recomending such an old game shows how much these games have not improved over the years!

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (PSone)
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